We are petitioning President Barack Obama to exonerate the Right Excellent Marcus Mosiah Garvey, leader of the largest civil rights movement of the early twentieth century.
On January 12, 1922, Marcus Garvey, founder of the United Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), was arrested by the Bureau of Investigation and charged with mail fraud. In 1925, Garvey began serving a five-year sentence in the US penitentiary in Atlanta, Georgia. After several appeals, his sentence was eventually commuted by President Calvin Coolidge, and he was deported to Jamaica. It is now abundantly clear (and legal scholars agree) that Garvey did not commit any criminal acts, but as Professor Judith Stein has stated, “his politics were on trial."
Marcus Garvey’s work laid the foundation for civil rights leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who stated, "Marcus Garvey was the first man, on a mass scale, to give millions of Negroes a sense of dignity and destiny ...He gave us a sense of personhood, a sense of manhood, a sense of somebodiness."
We think President Obama will agree that this year, 2014, the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Universal Negro Improvement Association, is a timely moment to correct this historic miscarriage of justice.
The Coalition for the Exoneration of Marcus Garvey
This petition will focus attention on the importance of Garvey's legacy and the values that he espoused: redemption, education, self-determination, purpose, entrepreneurship, community and tradition.